Liberia Development Conference Anthology: “Engendering Collective Action for Advancing Liberia’s Development” (Daily Observer)

As the Administration of President George M. Weah prepares to roll-out its Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, it can rely on an abundant body of work and research and will not have to re-invent the wheel. Since the end of the war, there have been many studies and strategies on how to resolve some of the development challenges the country has faced throughout the ages. One such contribution is an anthology of research papers presented at a development conference organized by the US Agency for International Development (USAID, Liberia), the Embassy of Sweden and the University of Liberia on February 1-2, 2017 in Monrovia.

Authors in the Anthology hail from government, private sector, civil society organization and academia. They also transcend borders, with contributions from Columbia University, the African Development Bank, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, the University of Liberia, the Ministry of Education and think tanks around the world and in age groups. Authors range from Professor Elwood Dunn of the Center for Policy Studies to Dr. Robtel Neajai Pailey and the late K. Abdulai Kamara and Cllr. Kwame Clement, amongst many deserving writers and researchers.

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Audio for 'Jaadeh Is Integrity' Released (Daily Observer)

The official audio for the upcoming anti-corruption children’s sequel “Jaadeh Is Integrity” has been released. The song was written and produced by Liberia’s premier Hip-Co musician Takun J, featuring vocalist Ella Mankon Pailey, and is currently airing on 61 commercial and community radio stations across Liberia, as well as on West Africa Democracy Radio.

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Jaadeh Is Integrity (Various Liberian Stations)

"Jaadeh Is Integrity" was written and produced by Liberia's premier Hip-Co musician Takun J and features vocalist Ella Mankon Pailey. It is based on the forthcoming anti-corruption children's sequel, Jaadeh!, written by Robtel Neajai Pailey, illustrated by Chase Walker and published by One Moore Book. The song was made possible through a grant from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). 

"Jaadeh Is Integrity" is currently airing on 61 commercial and community radio stations across Liberia (including Farbric Radio, HOTT FM, Power FM, Truth FM) as well as on West Africa Democracy Radio. Stay tuned for the music video!

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 “Jaadeh Is Integrity” Song by Takun J Released

Ahead of Anti-Corruption Children’s Sequel

(Monrovia, Liberia—July 30, 2018) Today marks the official release of “Jaadeh Is Integrity”, a song written and produced by Liberia’s premier Hip-Co musician Takun J and featuring vocalist Ella Mankon Pailey. It is currently airing on 61 commercial and community radio stations across Liberia, as well as on West Africa Democracy Radio. Visit to listen.

Based on the forthcoming children’s book Jaadeh! written by Robtel Neajai Pailey, illustrated by Chase Walker, and published by One Moore Book, “Jaadeh Is Integrity” was made possible through a grant from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), which focuses on governance and transparency issues in West Africa. Jaadeh! is a sequel to the critically acclaimed anti-corruption children’s book Gbagba published in 2013.

In both books, eight-year-old twin protagonists Sundaymah and Sundaygar navigate the confusing ethical codes of the adults in their lives, in places as diverse as traffic jams, schools, churches and markets. In Gbagba, the children express clearly the concrete ways in which corruption hurts rather than heals society. In Jaadeh! they embrace integrity as a way of life.

Gbagba and Jaadeh! author Pailey says that “children are the moral compass of Liberia; they are the moral compass of the world. When they start publicly exposing corruption for what it truly is, my hope is that adults will be shamed into living more honestly and authentically, with integrity.”

“Jaadeh Is Integrity” joins its companion song “Gbagba Is Corruption”, which was released in 2014 and is based on the first book. Both singles are part of a canon of anti-corruption songs popularised by politically conscious musicians such as Takun J, who blends Liberian colloquialisms with Hip-hop beats.

With two previous grants secured from OSIWA, Pailey has commissioned Liberian artists to adapt Gbagba into a music video, radio drama, and stage play with an all-child cast. Jaadeh! will be similarly adapted, with a music video of “Jaadeh Is Integrity” released shortly.

According to OSIWA Country Officer Massa Crayton, the grant making body has supported Gbagba and Jaadeh! adaptations because it “believes the fight against corruption needs to start with children being taught about the values of accountability and integrity, which opens the space for an honest discussion of how corruption adversely affects them in their homes, schools, local communities, and within the national landscape on a broader scale.”

Visit for more information about Gbagba and Jaadeh Contact Robtel Neajai Pailey about “Jaadeh Is Integrity”.  


Robtel Neajai Pailey

Gbagba and Jaadeh! Author

Why We Should Be Cautious about the 'Game-Changer' Ebola Vaccine (Al Jazeera English)

In early May 2018, when the ninth Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo threatened to spread to Mbandaka, a city of 1.2 million people, the global health public relations machine went into overdrive...Unlike previous outbreaks in the country, or unlike the 2014-16 West African outbreak, international responders quickly announced their support for efforts to contain Ebola...

Among the highlights of this rapid response is the use of the "investigational" rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine. Beside two vaccines developed and approved by Russia and China, this one has gone the furthest in its development: it has been tested for safety, for its ability to elicit sufficient immune response to fight off Ebola, and for efficacy...

Most media coverage about the vaccine's deployment to the region has been triumphalist, referring to the vaccine as a "game-changer" and "a paradigm shift". But these reports should be viewed with caution...As noted by Liberian academic Robtel Neajai Pailey, there is a history of medical experimentation among vulnerable populations in the US and parts of Africa. Informed consent by research participants requires a complex negotiation under any circumstances, but the history of experimentation Pailey and others describe too often intensify community concerns and negative responses to certain medical interventions...

I Was 14 When I Got My First Job (Daily Nation)

Kenya is just sort of getting back on its feet after what has been a protracted and highly divisive election period. As a researcher in the area of political economy and governance, what are your fast tips on recovery and what are some youth-specific roles that young people can play in the recovery process?

Kenya has matured in the past decade, but old rivalries and unresolved electoral tensions continue to threaten the country’s future.

The powers that be have inherited a divided and disgruntled country, and the economic boycott and threats of swearing in a parallel national leader are only signs of difficult times to come. But all is not lost. Transformation does not happen overnight. Young Kenyans across the country must be committed to creating long-term political solutions that put Kenya first.

During a trip to Nairobi in early December last year, I had the pleasure of speaking with many young intellectuals and activists who reassured me that it is Kenyans who will determine the fate of their country.

During the last elections, many of them started their own political parties, ran for elected office, and served up sharp, comprehensive analysis when the world needed it most. And that filled me with hope. It is prime time for young Kenyans to become more politically engaged than ever before.

Liberia's New Leader (The World Weekly)

A football stadium once again proved a place of victory for George Weah. On Monday, the former AC Milan striker strode across a football pitch in Liberia’s capital Monrovia to the familiar chants of enthusiastic fans. Yet, this was no sports match. This was the day the former footballing star became his country’s president...

“His background as a sportsman made his victory possible,” Silas Kpanan'Ayoung Siakor, a Liberian environmental and human rights activist, told The World Weekly. “His generosity is also an important factor”...

In order to stand by his supporters, observers say, President Weah must generate more jobs and better training opportunities for the country’s youth. Investment in the private sector, especially in Liberian-owned businesses, would help the economy, but some fear a focus on business growth could sideline social issues.

“Maximising corporate earnings and improving quality of life do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive,” wrote Mr. Siakor in an article he co-authored with Liberian academic Robtel Neajai Pailey, “but in Liberia the former has always trumped the latter.”

Experts Say Liberia's Weah Must Use Jobs, Education to Tackle Country's Problems (Devex)

ABIDJAN — Just two weeks after Liberia’s runoff election where the country realized its first democratic transfer of power, and 12 years after boasting the election of Africa’s first female president, experts say the country must now expand beyond its traditional sources of revenue to provide better livelihoods for youth under the new leadership of former soccer star and president-elect, George Weah…

“The fact of the matter is there is a sense of anti-intellectualism in Liberia at the moment where people are saying ‘all those book people, meaning elites, didn’t do enough for the country after 12 years, so why should we give them another mandate; let’s give it to someone who has a heart for the country,’ and I think Weah represents that to a lot of people,” Liberian political analyst Robtel Neajai Pailey told Devex.

2018 Will Be a "Make or Break Year" for Liberia's New President George Weah (Radio France International)

Liberia's new president has vowed to improve the lives of ordinary Liberians.

In his first speech to the nation since his stunning run-off victory last week, George Weah vowed to tackle corruption, saying the country was "open for business."

The former soccer star beat Vice President Joseph Boakai by nearly 62% of the votes in Friday's run-off vote.

His win represents Liberia's first democratic transfer of power in decades, after two devastating civil wars.

Now that his victory is secure, the daunting task of delivering on his promises awaits.

RFI's Christina Okello spoke to Liberian political analyst Robtel Neajai Pailey, in Abidjan.

She says that Weah will have to put his words into action.

President-Elect George Weah: What's Next for Liberia? (Al Jazeera English)

A peaceful transition of power in Africa's oldest republic is cause for optimism, according to analysts, but major challenges lie ahead for Liberia's president-elect George Weah.

A former international football star, Weah tapped into a yearning for change and widespread discontent to win this week's presidential run-off in a landslide.

Boosting the economy will be especially important for the new president, since many of his supporters - young, perennially unemployed or underemployed, and struggling financially - are those most in need of opportunities, said Robtel Neajai Pailey, a Liberian academic.

"You've got a very marginal, small group of people who are doing exceedingly well and then a large majority who are just barely scraping by," Pailey told Al Jazeera...

Liberia's Weah under Pressure to Deliver after Election Win (Reuters)

(Reuters) - Now that George Weah has emphatically won Liberia's presidency, an even more daunting task awaits: delivering tangible benefits to expectant supporters in the face of a gutted economy and waning donor support...

"It boils down to the team he puts together. He needs people with integrity and skill to implement change," said political analyst Robtel Neajai Pailey.

"He needs to focus on two or three things. He can't do it all - that would be impossible," Pailey said.

The World: Former Footballer George Weah Wins Liberian Elections (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Former football star George Weah is set to become the president of Liberia.

Robtel Neajai Pailey tells Yvonne Yong Mr Weah is a populist favourite who won the vote due to heavy political backing and a disillusionment with the status quo.

All Things Considered: Liberia Waits for Presidential Election Results (NPR)

Liberia's electoral commission will have preliminary results on a presidential runoff that will mark the West African country's first democratic transfer of power since 1944. In the race, the nation's vice president is pitted against a national soccer star...

Liberians agree that the legacy of outgoing president and Nobel peace laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is that she consolidated peace after back-to-back civil wars and an outbreak of Ebola. This is a watershed moment, says political analyst Robtel Neajai Pailey.